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Shelby County

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The Census asks questions about language use at home to locate groups of people who speak a language other than English. Their isolation or integration into a primarily English speaking community can be determined by their ability to speak English proficiently.

Language Spoken at Home, 1990-2000
1990 2000
Number Percent Number Percent
Only English 730,153 96.08% 774,966 93.45%
Spanish 11,630 1.53% 27,382 3.30%
Other Indo-European* 11,112 1.46% 13,185 1.59%
Asian Language** 5,662 0.75% 10,186 1.23%
Other 1,425 0.19% 3,527 0.43%
Total Population Age 5+ 759,982 100.00% 829,246 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 13,735 50.16%
Other Indo-European* 3,415 25.90%
Asian Language** 5,626 55.23%
Other Language 1,114 31.58%
Total 23,890 2.88%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,077 35.06%
Other Indo-European* 3,438 30.94%
Asian Language** 2,675 47.24%
Other Language 281 19.72%
Total 10,471 1.38%

* "Other Indo-European" excludes English and Spanish. "Indo-European" is not synonymous with "European." French, German, Hindi, and Persian are all classified as Indo-European. Hungarian, on the other hand, is lumped into "Other Language."

** "Asian Language" includes languages indigenous to Asia and Pacific islands areas that are not also Indo-European languages. Chinese, Japanese, Telugu, and Hawaiian are all classified here.

Also note that ability to speak English "very well" is based on the self-assessment of those responding to Census questions, not on a test of language ability.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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